Prominent French Families Battle Over a Missing Monet

PARIS — More than 70 years after i was plundered by the Nazis, a missing painting by Monet that depicts the shimmering blue rapids of the Creuse River has pitted two of the wealthiest and most prominent families in France against each other.

Ginette Heilbronn Moulin, 85, the chairwoman of the Galeries Lafayette department store chain, is pursuing a claim that the Wildenstein family, an international dynasty of French art dealers, is concealing information about the stolen work. The canvas, which belonged to the Heilbronn family, vanished in 1941 after a Gestapo raid on a family bank vault.

Last summer, after Ms. Moulin filed a criminal complaint against the Wildensteins, the French authorities ordered a preliminary investigation. An anti-art-trafficking squad is sifting through World War II documents to pick up the trail of the work, “Torrent de la Creuse,” Monet’s 1889 study of the confluence of the Creuse and the Petite Creuse Rivers....

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